How they've (mis)handled this will be studied by business and PR students for years to come.
(not agreeing with anything that they did, just looking at it from a PR perspective)
I am, for one, moderately optimistic looking at the Western counter-outrage and people ditching Blizzard. We need strong and widely held convictions to defend our basic liberty. Coming from the former Eastern Block, I can easily imagine what is it like to have an unfree government convincing the world that we want to live under its "protection", applying material pressures and pseudo-patriotic propaganda to make it appear so etc. If clumsy Chinese silencing play will trigger more popular defensive reactions, it's good. And in economy, historically totalitarian regimes can be extremely good in catching up (see Stalin's industrialization), not so good in outrunning.
I hope this really hurts blizzard. To many people value playing the game than protecting rights, let alone rights of other people.
Heck, Titan was under development for years before getting cancelled without any sort of big announcement.
I could be wrong -- it's just that this always seems to have been the sentiment on the forums I frequented.
I doubt it. The internet has a very short attention span and online activism is pretty much useless.
This has exploded from "a random employee in our China office posted to our blog and social media and the die-hards are mildly upset" to an existential threat. It's a disaster. (Oh what I would give to see those meetings and emails.)
Remember that only 12% of Activision Blizzard's revenue comes from Asia/Pacific, with South Korea a notable member of that group of countries. China isn't actually a big deal for them right now. Although there is huge growth potential there; 1.4 billion potential Blizzard gamers... now might be the best time to walk back, see what happens, and capture that market later. They can afford to.
Long story short: you need to demand congressional action, and lead an actual political change. That includes a plan to vote come next year (who to vote for, who to support, etc. etc.). Anything less will be largely ignored, just like Occupy Wall Street.
> and with that shaped countless people's ideas on society and class.
And it doesn't matter unless those people vote in greater numbers than their opposition. Society is moving against the Occupy Wall Street principles that were laid out almost a decade ago.
Anyway, it's curious how much this "online chicanery is what got Trump elected" meme appears, despite its obvious falsehood. I wonder whose interests are served by that?
Did you miss how she sold American uranium interests to Russia?
Did you miss how Russia worked with her campaign to prepare the Steele dossier, i.e. how Russia worked with the Clinton campaign to prevent Trump from being elected?
Did you miss how the Obama administration (in which she was Secretary of State) worked with Russia, how Obama was caught on-mic telling Medvedev to tell Putin that Obama would have more flexibility after Obama was reelected?
These are all widely reported facts.
It's bizarre how people still think Russia wanted Trump to win the election.
I kind of doubt that. With potential billions on the line, losing a few protesting players and face isn't anything to worry about. They have plenty of people hooked playing their games so they don't have much face to lose.
If they are, that's a far bigger issue for Blizzard than a handful of angry American players.
> that's a far bigger issue for Blizzard than a handful of angry American players
In fact Activision Blizzard only has 12% of revenue from Asia-Pacific . The vast majority is from the Americas and EMEA . The west should have a bigger say on Activision Blizzard's business, not China or South Korea.
The whole thread is a gem. Boils down to bribes and subsidies. He's taking a huge risk by making it public.
It's definitely prior knowledge. They either didn't care or are grossly incompetent.
The trouble that Blizzard has is walking back this decision could put their employees in China in danger.
It really depends on their goal. Reading the Chinese gaming forums, everyone is praising Blizzard for their “fair” stance and saying they will spend more on them.
So if this actually helps their bottom line, Blizzard’s actions could be studied as a master stoke on how to deal with geopolitical PR.
Just like when the Delta flight crew forcefully removed that doctor from the airplane. Or a Starbucks employee calling the police on black people waiting there.
By the time PR get's involved, it's too late.
This is one crucial vulnerability of many companies in today's world, any low level employee can generate a huge PR disaster by just not being smart enough to see the bigger picture.
So basically today you need every employee to be trained like a world class PR agent.
The military of many countries recognise this, recognising the concept of the 'strategic corporals'  
That's the lesson Dolores Umbridge inadvertently taught us in Harry Potter # 5.
It's free to watch here: https://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s23e02-band-in-china
I'd be surprised if it wasn't one of the biggest episodes in South Park history. And certainly the most viewed episode in China, haha.
This cosplayer was a finalist and the competition in question removed her over it.
When I first encountered it this morning my thought was that she ultimately wins because she's getting exposure that she never would have gotten before, and most people aren't ridiculous.
The riots in Hong Kong saved the CPC. The people in Mainland China were already starting to get upset at the government because of how the trade war was affecting the economy. The implicit contract being the people won’t rebel if the economy is good.
Luckily for the CPC, the Hong Kong riots came along and now the government is able to use that as an excuse to bolster patriotism.
So naturally they need to be “tough” on the NBA, Blizzard and any other company so as to not lose the people’s support.
I'm afraid we may have entered an era where outrage machines in China effectively dictate market access. Senators, Prime Ministers, Premier's, and Presidents will be powerless to stop it. (Well, short of shutting the outrage machines down.)
Of course there's nary a peep about Blizzard.
I'm about to do a thought experiment here. Only a thought, I'm not accusing anyone of anything. But just consider, what sort of messages would sock puppets controlled by, say, CBA teams be throwing into the Weibo Outrage Machine on the subject of the NBA? You say, "Well the NBA is likely doing the same", and I'd probably agree. Point is though that this is a new era really in public manipulation.
Think along those lines and you can kind of get an idea how these outrage machines around the world can be far more powerful tools than any government.
Talk to a few Chinese immigrants and you will know.
The younger Chinese generation grew up in an era of Chinese economic boom and are the benefactors of the efficiency in decision making that came with a more top-down (dictatorial if you will) government. The younger generation is much more focused on economic well-being and safety over liberty or freedom.
So as long as China can maintain the economic growth it's been having the past two decades, the Chinese public will by and large support the government.
This is perfectly reasonable when you consider it a personal decision. Sure, trade away some of your freedom for better economic well-being.
But how do they justify this when their personal economic well-being requires trampling the freedom of other people?
By that logic, would pro-China people would support China going to war with and taking over other countries if it brought them "economic well-being"?
(edited to make the last statement more clearly a question since it's something I'm genuinely curious about.)
There are 3 great evils in China: terrorism, separatism and extremism. HK/Tibet/XinJiang/Taiwan are not economic issues but security ones. People balance prosperity for security everywhere. The west sees HK as a large pro democracy movement, the Chinese see's this as fringe separatist violence by 0.001% of the population. They see HK as Chinese alt-right getting bold undermining domestic serenity: disenfranchised, social media savvy, economically anxious youth who see their culture being displaced and their privileged being eroded by mainland immigrants. They're acting accordingly.
"Hello, I am the CEO of a company located in a fully autonomous province that does not pay taxes to the PRC?"
What security interest is served by censoring discussion of the existence of Taiwan?
This is a political issue, not a security issue.
Taiwan is clearly sovereign, anyone saying otherwise is ignoring reality or avoiding offending China.
The US had military bases in Taiwan for 20 years, the military bases were removed to assist with normalizing relations with China.
I can absolutely see why insisting that the US not place military bases on Taiwan is a security concern, but this has nothing to do with the sovereignty of Taiwan. (Similar to US concerns about Russian military installationa in Cuba which were unrelated to Cuba's sovereignty.)
The institutional double-speak around the sovereignty of Taiwan is purely political and has no impact on actual security issues.
The same way every one in every other country on earth deals with the awful things their country does I guess. By ignoring it.
> By that logic, would pro-China people would support China going to war with and taking over other countries if it brought them "economic well-being"?
Looking at world history probably?
To paraphrase your last statement, as long as the US can manage to not destroy their economy completely, the US public will by and large support the government.
Most Americans are angry about the president or some senator. Medicare? FBI? The US Navy / Air Force / Army? The police? Most Americans love those. (When did you last see a group of people asking for the disbanding of the FBI? Heck, for the disbanding of the IRS even.)
In this case, the volume of messages I was reading made clear mainlander disdain for the NBA's perceived position on Hong Kong. (The great irony being that the NBA actually has no position on HK, but just like in the US, that fact does little to stop the outrage machines.) In cases like this, the government tends to sit back, do nothing, and let American entities be embarrassed.
Wait, when did the US kill a political or business leader because of social media pressure?
Also what would happen if crowd pulled HK support en masse, escort out everyone?
It's clear now much of the Chinese leadership were a paper tiger and now that the heat is on, they don't really have a strategy. They just never expect enough people to call them out publicly and embarass them. Maybe they'll keep hold of their own country by suppressing information flow, countrywide surveillance, but whatever power they had over the global economy: severely diminished.
It looks like their debt is only 15% of their GDP? I've heard the China <> Debt thing before and I don't understand it. Could you explain what you mean?
As a result, there are lots of loans on the books that will never be paid off as things stand, and unlike the US there is no mechanism in the financial system to acknowledge any of that on a gradual basis (loan writedowns, etc), so the loans keep being rolled over instead.
At some point, reality will need to be faced, at which point there will be either massive financial system issues, much worse than what the US had going on in 2008, or huge government bailouts. And in the latter case, that implies even more financial repression or taxation, or both, than is already going on, with resulting decreases in economic well-being for urban areas in China, which is the thing that _really_ worries the CCP.
If the economy grows faster than the "bad loan" burden, then this problem is basically temporary, and rolling the loans over until the economy has grown enough to just deal with the issue is the right strategy. It's hard to come by plausibly correct (or even unbiased) estimates of either economic growth or the size of the "bad loan" burden, but almost all the estimates I've seen seem to agree that for a long time the "bad loan" burden was growing faster than the economy. Whether that's still the case, I don't know.
Unfortunately I do think this means we're going to see some action in the South China Sea region. China has problems to deal with in Hong Kong, Taiwan, North Korea, Xinjiang, Tibet, etc. Eventually one of its neighbors is going to get aspirations and will poke the bear. Hopefully China is spread too-thin to deal with it, although that will mean conflict. Violence will be necessary here.
Whatever hopes the borderline pro-China Taiwanese harbored must’ve been shattered by what is happening in Hong Kong this past year.
The true character of China has been revealed: The CCP is power-hungry and don’t feel constrained at all.
I would consider it a fight or die situation in slow motion from here on out.
Even going as far as being able to arrest foreign executives that break those sanctions.
If HN is trying to achieve a soulless takes-itself-way-too-seriously environment, then I'd agree with you. Hopefully that's not the case (but probably is, per the observations I've accumulated over the years of hanging around here).
> intellectually-stimulating conversation
Humor can be intellectually-stimulating, even in the form of clever puns. Whether or not the pun in question was clever (or at least sufficiently-clever to be amusing) is a different question.
> diverse group of people that have diverse (and sometimes opposing) viewpoints.
Humor happens to be an excellent way to both convey and consume those viewpoints, especially in a way that's actually conducive to all parties actually coming away with a better understanding of one another.
It's a housekeeping/ broken windows thing, puns and off topic one liners that exist to solicit some type of thoughtless reaction in the reader, are the first signs of a forum in decline.
> It's not that funny stuff isn't amusing, it's that it's counter to what HN might be trying to achieve.
So, keep it serious. No Having fun. Gotchya.
As a bonus, "we" (The West) have recently demonstrated hundreds upon hundreds of examples of free speech being relegated to a distant second to certain "special" feelings our society holds, and now "we" are trying to tell China that their certain special feelings aren't worthy of this level of protection?
If our values mean nothing to us, then there is no reason to be surprised that those values mean just as little to others.
27 years ago Sinead O'Connor ripped up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live when it was broadcast live. She's was arguably right to critize the Pope but was she right to do it from Saturday Night Live's Live broadcast? IIRC because of that incident SNL added a 5 or 10 second delay so they'd have time to cut if something similar happened again.
Anyway, I'm support of the HK protestors and having written that in public now I wonder if I'm banned from China. I also believe I want US businesses to all stick up for freedom of expression and not sell out to China. I'm just saying in the context of using the Blizzard event I'm not so ready to condemn Blizzard's initial response. In the new context of what's happened since then though I hope they change their direction.
IIRC Sinead O'Connor was pretty much universally condemned even though if I understand correctly she was right.
You simply can’t do all that, and then go against democracy and basic human rights like this, and then expect people to not call you out for your bullshit.
That was mysteriously absent from their Chinese servers.
Activision/Blizzard being hypocrites about their stance on human rights has been around for a while - here's a _long_ forum thread from last year about "Blizzard selling out LGBTQ+ to Chinese money".
Throughout the entire existence of WoW they've actively prohibited LGBT community to express themselves in WoW. While they did nothing about virtual RP sex on RP servers.
However I think the response was totally out of scale. They banned the player from competing for a year, rescinded winnings, deleted the VOD of the event, and fired both casters who were interviewing him. Would that have happened if a player on stream said something else political and inflammatory? No way.
Example: https://www.polygon.com/2018/1/20/16913072/overwatch-league-... $2000 fine and a 4 day ban
An $x000 fine and y game suspension is a punishment in line with this offense in literally every professional sports league.
>>>...but was she right to do it from Saturday Night Live's Live broadcast?
If SNL wants to not invite O'Connor back, or cut her from the rest of the show, or yank her off stage, yep it's their show, fair enough. Same with blizzard - they can stop the interview and tell him he doesn't get to say what he wants on their show. I wouldn't exactly be impressed with that, but in general it's their show, their rules.
To take his winnings and ban him from the game is absolute bullshit.
I'd like to play Devil's advocate with your argument, if you'd be interested and willing. Couldn't one say the same thing about Blizzard: "it's their game/tournament, their rules"? They banned him from participating in Hearthstone esports for 1 year. Is the primary distinction that O'Connor doesn't depend on SNL for her livelihood? Would the argument hold if O'Connor were employed by SNL?
When it comes to politics, there are no hard and fast rules. On the one hand, a lot of people look to games for escape from life's problems. It might be reasonable to agree with Blizzard that political speech during a gaming competition isn't appropriate for that reason. On the other hand, entertainment is a form of art, and players are human, through which expression of all forms is interwoven. You can't walk a step in the world of games without stumbling into political expression of some kind.
And sports also fall prey to geopolitics ... in pretty much every match ever held.
Even the "dumbest" action movies made purely for entertainment find a foundation on some good versus evil morality, at least to establish a reason for the ensuing hour and half of thrilling gunfire and explosions. Not many people want to watch their action hero shoot up hundreds of people for no reason at all. We want a "good" hero to shoot up "bad" guys.
So it's all messy. Life is messy. Life is art. Sometimes life/art does something outside of the rules, and it's okay, for no other reason than because it moves people.
So like you I don't feel that Blizzard committed some heinous crime here. But they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That happens; life is messy. What's happening in HK is more important than hard and fast rules.
I'm not sure its okay for China to be maiming and killing protestors while trying to subjugate a city under tyranny,
The reality is that there are not okay things out there, and people often feel helpless against them, and will do things others will feel is not okay to try to get their message across when they feel the okay way isn't working.
And as a global people we should support those that feel, out of desperation, they need to destroy their careers or risk their own safety to try to help others. Its the inverse side of the coin school shooters and terrorism occur on - both are driven to extreme action, but one is sacrificing oneself to try to help others while the other seeks only to destroy for selfish egotism. Both are indicative of systemic issues that need addressed.
The same can’t be said about the current protests in Iraq, Sudan, Indonesia, and Kashmir.
What about many people who got "disappeared" during the protests? We have no way of knowing how many of them are dead, and I bet at least a few of them might be, with the rest just being tortured and imprisoned per usual.
This is how protesting works. It has to be in places people can see and hear. Creating controversy is even better because it gets the media talking about it.
I’d argue this was 1,000 times more effective in spreading a message than taking to the streets.
Interviews are not scripted, the interviewer asks questions but the interviewee says whatever they want. It has always been like this.
A comedy show is in business for fifty years, and the only off-color appearance was a musician with a political opinion? As if we ever needed a demonstration of how bland and conventional SNL really is, regardless of the image they would like to convey.
SNL has had a great number of off-color appearances. Sinead O'Connor was not the reason they added the delay. SNL was already on tape delay by the time she appeared on the show. She slipped past the network censor because they didn't recognize what she was doing until the images had already been broadcast. (Per Wikipedia, she used a different photo during rehearsals. Her stunt was not edited out of the West coast tape-delayed broadcast but was replaced with rehearsal footage in repeats.)
Richard Pryor was the reason that SNL was on tape delay. In fact, per PBS, he's the reason most live broadcasts are on a several second delay. (Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake are the reason that half-time shows at sports events are now also on tape delay.) https://ca.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/6feba07a-e711-40ab-...
While many skits on SNL can be bland and conventional, a great many of their skits are classics. And especially during political cycles, SNL skits can define a political candidate or campaign. (See, e.g., Dan Quayle and spelling, Al Gore and the lockbox, Sarah Palin and seeing Russia, John McCain as himself on SNL.)
Only tangentially related, but morbidly fascinating.
>She's was arguably right to critize the Pope but was she right to do it from Saturday Night Live's Live broadcast?
>I also believe I want US businesses to all stick up for freedom of expression and not sell out to China.
Well this is what happens when our culture is so insistent on upholding capitalism as a virtue. When our best platforms for speaking up are businesses, it's only fair for us to use them like we would any other service that we're paying for (whether directly or through our taxes that fund their allowances, or through our suffering of their practices). Why do people only come to the defense of corporations when the "invisible hand of the market" is punching up?
Small nations and individual companies cannot stand up to this coercion individually, and free, market economies lack the organization to respond in a cohesive way.
The optimistic belief that economic growth and market integration would liberalize authoritarian or totalitarian countries should by now be wholly debunked.
The CCP is responsible for some of the most horrific atrocities and violations of human rights today, and has largely managed to silence the world from even speaking out against its actions.
Individuals should do everything they can to express their opposition to this state of affairs, but the only viable response is for the governments of free peoples who care for and value these freedoms to jointly act in response.
If we value freedom over money, there must be economic consequences (including economic isolation) for China for its actions, and we should not be reluctant about promoting these freedoms globally, including within China.
The GATT and WTO rules in place today are not sufficient to counter the threat China represents. It's time to rewrite the rules of global trade to prevent the CCP from freely benefiting from trade while simultaneously using it as a hammer to blunt and distort the values that enabled the markets from which it benefits.
Power over whom?
US Companies? It depends on the context: how damaging would a strike be, and how much of the important people can you get to join?
In the context of pro gaming, I have serious doubts that any union is viable outside games with a franchise model. There are just too many hungry people and too few spots at the top to ever have a meaningful strike.
Even with a franchise, the result of a Union forming may just be the dissolving of the franchise model (or the failure of the game as an esport) rather than the Union achieving political power.
Yes, but the belief that the market/capitalism can enforce a set of values, good and bad, lives on.
Blizzard, the NBA, all of these organizations know this and will find a way to make it right that doesn't turn off the money.
That would never happen, anyway. That's the real power of money.
Would Blizzard give up such a segment to let some dudes make a few loud comments?
Mainland China is currently governed by the People's Republic of China (PRC).
Both governments consider themselves "China". They consider the other government as an illegitimate entity occupying territory illegally.
The PRC refuses to deal with any nation that treats the ROC as a nation. That means it is not recognized by the UN, the Olympic committee, etc. If you make any sort of inference that the island of Taiwan is not the territory of and under the control of the PRC, they will flat out drop your ass.
The compromise is "Chinese Taipei". Because "Taiwan" sounds too much like its own nation to the PRC and "Taiwan, China" sounds too much like a subordinate of the PRC to the ROC.
So it's not Blizzard that's insisting the team be called Chinese Taipei, it's the PRC and ROC. Although, they'd much rather the other government not exist.
Not counting the U.S. media, of course!
I expect Blizzard to follow suit.
At first they banned it, then after some consideration they temporarily unbanned it. (Temporarily, because the league said they will reconsider its flag rules in the off-season.)
It really becomes a problem when teams and players do it, and even more in international settings. Hence FIGA's rule, which is aimed at keeping the game neutral and an inclusive sport.
It's not until Kotick, Morhaime (Blizzard co-founder) and Allen Brack (President) start feeling the heat will they reverse course.
Apple has tried very hard to appease both sides, and if they suffer for it, it's their own fault.
In this particular situation, I'd say:
- China is wrong to suppress free expression of HKers, and furthermore I believe it's incumbent upon HKers to assert their, as I see it through the lens of my culture, natural born right to that expression.
- Blizzard and the NBA are wrong to discourage the expression of its employees or associates on this particular matter (supporting another culture asserting values like our own), but those harmed do not have the same recourse as a citizen would against their government (with the obvious exceptions of protected classes, which I'm not sure applies here, IANAL). There is only market recourse, aka boycott⁎, or potentially government regulation to protect political speech in the workplace (not sure if that already exists, but it sounds like a dangerous path to me as all kinds of wacky shit could be claimed to be political).
⁎ It strikes me that an embargo or sanction is a kind of political boycott, is that what you'd like to see? Because I'm not outright opposed to a government curtailing business with other governments that refuse to share foundational values. But this is a tricky road too because it basically leads to the kinds of debates like those made to refuse service to PoC or LGBT communities. In the US we have the SCOTUS to help decide those questions, what is the global analogue?
CCP is what is industrializing the country. There's not a single person in the West who is not a recent immigrant that lived in a pre-industrial society. In this case Chinese population supports CCP because between supporting some rich special people in HK protesting something and not going back to working the fields with bare hands, HK protesters lose.
West is ought to understand it.
These are not made up stories. Chinese population remembers about having finally electricity everywhere and moving from working farm fields to maybe getting a job in a factory and not using outhouses. There are over a billion of them.
HK population remembers being a special people with British institutions. There are 7.4 million of them.
Or is it just a matter of "we suffered, so they have to suffer"?
Chinese population (by an overwhelming majority) views HK protesters as rich ungrateful bitches throwing a tempter tantrum.
HK population views mainland Chinese as the unwashed masses that are trying to take away what HK population thinks is rightfully theirs.
The numbers are not on the side of HK. The West is ought to understand that there's HK protesters do not have a winning hand, even with the support from the West.
Freedom of speech is what the US Constitution guarantees. It says the government cannot limit people's ability to speak their mind, and cannot punish people for speaking their mind. Note that it says nothing about what private entities can do, especially on platforms they own and operate.
"Free speech", as exercised nowadays (mostly) by conservatives who complain about being "silenced", is the (in my opinion ridiculous) idea that one should be able to say anything they want without any consequences whatsoever, and that they are entitled to any platform they choose to spread that message. These are the same people who advocate for a "marketplace of ideas", but get bent out of shape when that marketplace reacts negatively to their opinions.
In my opinion, we need to rid ourselves of the idea that all ideas are equally valid and deserve equal amounts of airtime and consideration. Furthermore, it is okay to completely dismiss certain ideas on their total lack of merit, and furthermore take (private) action to prevent their spread. For example if I post on this site that "all people of <insert ethnicity> need to be exterminated" it would be completely okay for others here to downvote/flag my post (i.e. "censorship") and for HN to ban me (i.e. "de-platforming").
Conservatives tried this too, recruiting the aid of the government to fight against obscenity, Communism, etc. And they lost that battle in the end.
(I assume you follow FIRE, and know that this problem isn't contained to the "speech is violence" people; there are numerous right-wing attempts at suppression on campus as well.)
As to your second point, FIRE tends to advocate for free speech on campus generally, including private schools. A lot of the right-wing attempts at suppressing speech happen at places like private religious schools (Duquensque and Georgetown are two top posts in the FIRE website). I tend to stop short of that—I think private schools are free to restrict speech in ways public schools are not. But, as I said in my post, attempts to suppress speech have historically been a right wing phenomenon.
What would you call this event? The genocide of ideas (by the righteous)?
Who decides which ideas are invalid or lack merit? Is there a social credit system to value / devalue those with ideas and prevent them from transmitting them?
At what point does it extend from the online world into every day life?
What happens to those people when they can't express themselves online or in real life?
Do you see where I'm going with this?
That said, I think that China's efforts - by using companies as their proxies - are being much more effective.
Absolutely. They’re beating us at our own game and revealing that American values were never freedom and democracy - those are just ways we think are good to make money. If a better system comes along we’re the first to jump on it.
What in the heck are you talking about? No one is jumping ship on these values anytime soon.
The actions of corporations trying to make money in countries that don't share those values are subject to open criticism in the press and wherever one cares to air them. If you want to punish companies that seem to be undermining those values (such as Activision/Blizzard in this case), you remain free to do that.
The backlash against Blizzard is an example of that happening.
Modern communication between individuals relies on the internet. Even the government has acknowledged this, insisting that all of their services are available online.
All spaces for communication on the internet (including elements as low as DNS and hosting) rely on private companies.
Private companies can and do take censorious actions based on values that, at best, are layered upon the values of the country that the company operates in. However, at worst, the company's values need not have any relation to those of the countries they operate in.
Thus, the individual's freedom to express their thoughts relies on their thoughts not being censored by private companies. If one of the many companies that you depend upon for communication decides to not let you express that thought, you are unable to express that thought.
Of course, this applies to the internet and not government-owned meat-space, but government-managed meat-space is not where this communication is occurring. Particularly around the incident in Hong Kong.
Ideally 1A protections would be seen as something of a bare minimum, rather than the highest level of protection people could ever dream of enjoying.
This doesn’t mean much if they don’t use this power and instead publish random bullshit. The western way has never been censorship, it’s been straight up lying.
If anything, it shows just how well freedom and democracy works in America despite how many conflicting ideologies exist in our nation, compared to any other country.
Dunno about you, but I draw the opposite conclusion. The reaction so far has made it clear that a lot of Americans value freedom and democracy, and that they see these corporate actions as unacceptable.
No, actually I don't think that's a comparable situation.
Google wasn’t censored by a government. That was a decision they decided to make (whatever you think of it, I don’t want to start a relitigation of that mess).
The US Sanctions and Embargos based on lawful use of economical policies as set forth by constitutional powers granted to the Executive Branch.
US Legislative and Executive branches attempts to censor free speech would almost certainly be challenged in court, as the right to free speech, and peacably assemble is one of the founding principles of the US.
But, you presented your case respectfully, so I don't think this should be downvoted.
Because apparently it's not quieting if you've punished someone for saying something.
and now let me go grab my eyeballs off the floor because they just rolled out of my head.
The example given does not come close to that, but is an example of someone being censored.
In the US at least, censorship is typically brought on by pressure from sponsors and advertisers in response to public outcry.
In the US, The Freedom of Speech is heavily protected against government interference.
Embargoes are the exception, not the rule, and they are not used as a means to enforce political speech. It'll be a cold day in hell before I try to defend the foreign policy tactics of the United States, but to pretend that a business embargo on a select few countries constitutes something on the order of the Chinese stranglehold on business in their country is just false.
I recommend reading manufacturing consent. Censorship is entirely unnecessary and you hit on the core social mechanism there.
I wonder how that would have gone at the height of McCarthyism.
Spitballing some historical fiction for the admittedly bizarre editorial? There would have been a public hue and cry. The editor who published the opinion piece would have lost their job, heads would have rolled (figuratively, not literally) in the WSJ editorial board.
The person who wrote the editorial would have had a bad time in the public sphere (they still would).
The author of the editorial would almost certainly not have gone to jail or been arrested, tortured, or executed, nor would they have lost their property or business, nor would their family. Nor would the editor who published the editorial.
If the author had been a government employee, they probably would have lost their job. If they were a high-profile public persona (an actor, for example), they probably would have been blacklisted.
But to be clear, that would be the worst of it - even during an extraordinary period of paranoia and fear.
If you believe otherwise, dig up some historical precedent to support the argument.
For the record: I do not think the United States of America is a just country in many regards, but if you're going to complain about injustice, at least get the facts straight.
(Edit: I'm just so puzzled by the bizarre false equivalence on this issue. It's like suggesting that Norway and the United States have the same track record on public healthcare because the Norwegian state health plan stopped covering acupuncture from 1985-1990 (imaginary example). They don't have the same track record, it's not close, slapping some words together on the internet doesn't make it so.)
The public pressure to adopt a particular line was comparable. The consequences for a company or personality not adopting a similar line were, and often still are "tied 100% to the approval or disapproval" which sees someone step down after a foolish quote.
Hundreds were imprisoned during the McCarthy era, so that's not an unreachable stretch either. It's not unthinkable.
To your edit: The equivalence is the equal pressure to conform (to the views of China / the prevailing views of the US), with similar consequences. The main difference is that a US corporation is conforming to an international view - because of that market, along with the speed that pressure can build via the internet.